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Vienna’s Same-Sex Crosswalk Signals Make Us Feel Warm and Fuzzy

May 12th, 2015

When’s the last time you thought about true love or marriage equality while crossing a street? When’s the last time you looked up and smiled at a sign telling you not to cross yet? Here in the States, most of us stand impatiently, one foot half off the curb, thinking about how much we have to do while pressing the walk button over and over again, as if this will make the light change sooner.

City planners in Vienna are hoping to make things different there. The city has introduced new same-sex and opposite-sex themed crosswalk signals. Instead of a single gender-neutral person, the new light-up signs feature couples, both gay and straight, holding hands as they wait or walk, a little heart between them.

Of course, we’re sure that there are plenty of homophobic people out there who will now find themselves even more irritated while they wait to cross the street. Not only do they have to stand there for an entire twenty seconds, they also have to spend that twenty seconds being reminded that the world is changing and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. Just like pressing that crosswalk button a hundred times doesn’t change a thing.

According to the mayor of Vienna, the new signals, which have been installed at forty-nine crosswalks throughout the city, are “a sign of openness and tolerance.” We’ll drink a dark and yeasty Austrian beer to toast that!

Here are two more signs…

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What Men Want You to Do with Their Nipples

May 12th, 2015

male_nipple_chest

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week a straight woman asks,“What’s up with men’s nipples? Should I play with them or ignore them?”

Gay Single Guy (Jay Dyckman): When it comes to nipple play and men, it’s very easy.  Some love it, some hate it, and some will ask you, during said act, and in a flat monotone, if you are “trying to get milk to come out.”  (Yes, that was a total mood killer.)  It really depends on the guy.  It will send some into the stratosphere and some racing for the front door.  Like everything, you never know until you give it a test drive. And if your guy really hates it, let’s hope he has the wherewithal to just say “Skip the nip, please.”

Straight Single Guy (Tyler Barnett): In the film Meet the Parents, the great Robert De Niro casually asks Ben Stiller, “I have nipples Greg, can you milk me?” Funny as that may be, it makes male nipples seem a bit, well, out of place. While they don’t serve any biological function like their female counterpart, they do have a purpose. As a kid, the titty twister and the purple nurple were always fun. As an adult, when a lady moves her mouth from my lips to my nips it always sends a shiver of excitement down my spine. But too much nipple play can be a bit annoying and even painful for me. Some women like to bite ‘em which, in my book, is not a good thing. So unless you know your guy’s into a little pleasure-pain, I’d say skip it. Here are a few nip tips for you ladies:

  1. Kiss em, lick em, but don’t bite!
  2. There are two, let’s not neglect one or the other.
  3. Don’t spend too much time with our nipples, it could get weird if we feel like you’re waiting for something to squirt out.

Straight Married Guy (Jim): I really can’t decide if I’d miss mine if I woke up without them.  My wife says she loves them about as much as my big toe or my bellybutton, both of which I would definitely miss. If you don’t get any response from your guy the first time, they’re safe to ignore.

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Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is Jim from New York, our Gay Guy is Jay Dyckman, an LA copywriter, and our Single Straight Guy is Tyler Barnett, owner of the LA PR firm Barnett Ellman. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

photo by via flickr

Why You Should Let Your Boyfriend or Husband Watch Porn

May 12th, 2015

Porn is an evergreen issue in our mailbox — we frequently get letters about it from both men and women. The men tend to say, why is my girlfriend/wife so bothered by porn? And the women tend to say, why does my boyfriend/husband watch porn when he has me? Or, why does he continue to watch porn when he knows I don’t like it. Today, we want to address those women, a.k.a. the Porn Patrol. Because for all of the issues we have with porn (political, ethical, feminist, intellectual, aesthetic…we could go on), we think that compromising on porn may just save your relationship.

Let’s take your relationship with shoes (or women’s magazines, or whatever): imagine if your partner said he was viscerally opposed to it, thinks it is a horrible industry that exploits people and perpetuates sexism and misogyny, and suggested that it might be a deal breaker. Or imagine if he asked you to give up masturbation*, because he should be enough for you. You’d be bummed, because you know those things don’t impact the love you have for your guy. You might, out of generosity and kindness, give them up, but then you might become bitter and resentful for being forced to change.

We understand how porn makes many women feel uncomfortable and unloved and disrespected — we’ve been there — but really, from his perspective, it has nothing to do with you; you’re not in any competition with it; it’s a normal and almost unavoidable part of being a guy. (It’s also a normal part of being a woman, for some.) And honestly, you’ll have a hard time finding a man who doesn’t like porn; it’s hard enough to find one who doesn’t like sports!

This is not to say that all porn is harmless. We think that the prevalence of porn can be blamed for a lot of the misconceptions young people (and plenty of adults) have today about sex and safety and what constitutes realistic sex and what works for women (physically and psychically) and what it means to treat people with decency and respect. Which is why it’s so important not only for decent, realistic sex education to be readily and widely available, but for critical thinking about porn to be an equally prevalent part of our culture (we love this Danish sexologist’s idea for teaching young people to be critical and conscientious about their porn consumption).  We also think it’s important that people — especially women — support the production of quality porn (because porn ain’t going away).

Of course, you can’t dictate people’s sexual fantasies or tell them what they can and can’t watch, like an uptight Big Brother. Well, you can, if you’re their partner, but it probably won’t go over so well. Which is why it’s better to tell them how you feel. Compromises can be made on both sides so everyone’s more at ease. Maybe you try to find something that turns you on, that you find acceptable so you can see where he’s coming from, as it were — maybe so you could even enjoy it together.

You can certainly encourage him to stay away from the more disturbing stuff, like, say, Brazilian fart porn — there is plenty of good, old-fashioned, healthy, and responsible boot-knocking going on out there by consenting adults who aren’t on drugs. But if he’s watching porn instead of having sex with you, or his porn consumption is getting in the way of school or work or social outings or daily living, then you’re in your rights to demand he seek professional help.

Assuming it’s not an unhealthy porn addiction, and you can’t find a way to get into it yourself, but you’re not willing to walk away from the relationship, then make sure your guy keeps it a private thing (and if he’s doing this already, consider it him being polite!). Don’t talk about it and definitely don’t watch it, and ask that he hide all signs of it.  In this case, ignorance can be bliss.

*Masturbation is something you should continue to do whether you’re in a relationship or not, married or not — it’s good for you to have some quality alone time!

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photo via flickr

Your Weekly Horos: May 11th, 2015

May 11th, 2015

grandcentral_ceiling_421photo by Simply Schmoopie

Each week, we at EMandLO.com predict the course of your love life for the week with our own version of irreverent horoscopes — ignore our advice at your own peril. (Hyperbole intended for dramatic effect.)

aries (Mar. 21st-Apr. 20th)
Got any overly cautious friends in the house? If so, this might be a good week to seek advice from them on how not to rush into things with a certain someone. Perhaps their instinct to be practical and careful, to always take things slowly, will rub off on you. And that’s the only thing that should be rubbing off on you this week: Keep all zippers zipped, all flies flying high, all underwear on, and all trays in their upright and locked positions. If you can’t stand the heat, then go rub one out in the kitchen. Just remember to close the blinds first.

taurus (Apr. 21st-May 20th)
Wow, you really carry around a lot of guilt, huh? It’s okay, you can take the cookie, it’s yours. Have another! What the hell, eat the whole pack, there’s plenty more where they came from. (Idiots’ guide: Cookie = piece o’ ass.) This is your free advance-to-booty pass, good for one week only. But remember, if you make a habit of this kind of gluttonous behavior, you will pay. And who wants a flabby soul?

gemini (May 21st-June 21st)
Don’t use the word “love” unless you mean it. Even if you think you mean it right now, you probably don’t.

cancer (June 22nd-July 22nd)
You often hear how you should really take the time to focus on you. Well, don’t. Not this week, at least. Your little love/sex disappointments pale in comparison to the world’s real problems. Got clean drinking water? Still have your clitoris intact? Allowed to vote democratically? Good. Now stop your whining about how you can’t get a date/can’t have an intercourse orgasm/haven’t found the One and be grateful for all you do have.

leo (July 23rd-Aug. 22nd)
Beware of the green-eyed monster: it’s hiding under your bed, just waiting to ruin your sex life this week.

virgo (Aug. 23rd-Sept. 22nd)
Don’t be so hard on someone who is trying to attract your attention. That mild social awkwardness and funny twitchy thing they’re doing with their eye isn’t a permanent state of affairs but simply a series of nervous tics induced by your utter coolness. Would it hurt you to give them the time of day? A word or two of kindness and you might see all that nervousness dissipate, and then you might even realize that without the lazy eye and the nervous throat noises, they’re kinda hot.

libra (Sept. 23rd-Oct. 23rd)
Birds are singing, the sun is shining. Everything’s coming up roses. Love is in the air. Happy days are here again. So don’t fuck things up with your big mouth.

scorpio (Oct. 24th-Nov. 22nd)
Oh, Scorpio. Dear, dear Scorpio. It’s people like you and weeks like this that made the Beatles write that damn song, “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

sagittarius (Nov. 23rd-Dec. 21st)
Stand up and be counted and you will appeal to lots of potential partners who are in the crowd. Your strength to speak out for what you believe in will prompt someone to ask you out. Of course, if you’re only going to espouse Rick Santorum’s party line, then we recommend sitting your ass down and shutting your pie hole for the sake of your sex life.

capricorn (Dec. 22nd-Jan. 20th)
Lo’s high school “sex” ed teacher was quite a meanie with no sense of humor and an iron fist. Her face was screwed up tight in a way that suggested years of sexual frustration. Not surprisingly, no sage sex advice was ever offered. However, she did say one good thing about relationships: “You shouldn’t marry someone for their potential.” That’s the only kernel of goodness that ever came out of that lady (though what it has to do with sexual education, we’ll never know). If she were here today, she’d say the same thing about you and dating.

aquarius (Jan. 21st-Feb. 18th)
We know you’re hungry for a little somethin-somethin, but the only thing you’re gonna be fed this week is lines. Don’t bite. At least, not until you’ve taken your Pepcid AC, specially formulated for the love sick.

pisces (Feb. 19th-Mar. 20th)
Persistence is a tricky thing. Sometimes it can set you apart from the pack, express your drive and passion, and land you your dream (blow) job. Other times, it can make you seem annoying and desperate. This week, on you, it’ll seem desperate and annoying. Sorry.

 

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Did You Blow Mother’s Day? 13 Belated Gift Ideas (w/Overnight Shipping)

May 11th, 2015

Did you blow Mother’s Day yesterday? Did that homemade card just not cut it? Below are some great gifts (for any budget) available online with expedited shipping (except the cake — you’ve got to put some elbow grease into that one.)

 

1.

“Relax Me” Fizzy Bath Balls

$6 each

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These individually wrapped balls turn a bath into a bubbly cocktail of aromas and soothing salts. A calming mixture of luscious oils, baking soda, and intoxicating fragrance, Relax Me is the perfect ending to Mom’s extra-long day (and they’re all extra-long). Choose from English Lavender, Pear Vanilla, Pomegranate Mint, or Morning Dew. They’re body-safe and animal-product free, contain natural ingredients, and are made in the USA.

 

2.

“I Take You” Novel

$18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
It’s the smartest, sexiest, funniest (like, hilarious) beach read on the shelves right now! If she’s a little saucy, your mom’ll love it.

 

3.

Soft Sleeping Mask

$10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help Mom get a better night’s rest with soft and comfortable mask. The elastic band allows for a snug fit without putting undue pressure on the eyes. And, hey, if she can find another use for it — wink, wink, kink, kink — good for her!

 

4.

Luna Beads

$34

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Know a new mom? Or maybe an older one with sneeze-pee issues? Help them out with the best selling Kegel exercisers in the world: Luna Beads are designed to strengthen and tone pelvic floor muscles to improve pelvic health (which will probably intensify orgasms, but you don’t have to tell Mom that if you don’t want to). Made from body-safe materials and easy to clean, Luna Beads can be worn one or two at a time for a custom workout.

 

5.

Rhubarb Rose Cake

TBD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, this one you don’t buy, you bake. But it goes great with champagne! According to creator Molly Shuster on Eat Boutique, “Paired with some loose garden flowers and bubbly champagne, this cake makes a very festive spread for my Mom on her special day. This little cake conveys a lot of my appreciation, but most importantly, it allows a little time to share a toast, a conversation, and some good laughs.” Aw, sweet, sensual, not sucky! The how-to’s are here.

 

6.

Contour Ceramic Massage Stones

$26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who needs massage therapy more than moms? This award-winning, body-friendly, double-fired porcelain massager by JimmyJane is hygienic, non-porous, and easy to clean. These versatile massagers can be warmed up or cooled down for added sensation and their shapes allow for limitless possibilities for sensual or deep-tissue massage techniques (dome face down for long, smooth strokes, or flipped over for pressure point stimulation with the rounded corners).

 

7.

Flickering Touch Massage Candle

$29.90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Made from all natural soy wax, Shea butter and apricot kernel oil, Lelo’s Flickering Touch Massage Candle melts into a pool of luxurious massage oil designed to nourish and moisturize skin with natural vitamin E. These Lelo candles have a burn-time of up to 35-hours and come in three light scents: Black pepper & pomegranate; snow pear and cedarwood; vanilla and creme de cacao.

 

8.

“What Makes a Baby” Book

$16.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not exactly a sensual gift, but almost any mom will feel warm and fuzzy reading this awesomely inclusive book of reproductive love to their kids. Visually engaging, informative, and supportive, “What Makes a Baby” explains to kids from any kind of family where they came from. It’s a great jumping-off point for more discussion with kids about bodies and families by a certified sexuality educator (Cory Silverberg) and an award-winning artist/illustrator (Fiona Smyth). For preschool-age 8.

 

9.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” Movie

$19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your mom was a fan (and, really, what mom wasn’t?), then getting her her own copy of the first “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie is a no brainer: she can watch it (and re-watch it and re-watch it…) whenever she wants! It’s got an unrated version (aw yeah), an alternate ending (probably better), and a teaser for “Fifty Shades Darker.” The DVD comes out Friday, but you can preorder today and choose 1-day shipping to get it there by Mom’s Day.

 

10.

Burberry for Women Eau de Parfum

$88

Steer clear of the trashy celebrity perfumes by the likes of Paris Hilton and Britney, and go for pure, classic class: Burberry for Women Eau de Parfum is a fresh and sensual fragrance with fruity top notes of blackcurrant, fresh green apple and bright bergamot. Heart notes of cedar wood, jasmine, and moss are intensified with warm notes of sandalwood for a rich and sensual tone. Warm notes of musk and vanilla smooth the base. Presented in a glass, 100ml bottle. Made in France, natch.

 

11.

Yoga for Beginners Boxed Set

$21

If Mom isn’t into yoga yet, it’s just a matter of time. Help her pull the yoga trigger with this popular 3-DVD box set that contains Yoga for Stress Relief, AM-PM Yoga for Beginners, and Essential Yoga for Inflexible People (and you know what flexibility is good for). Forty different routines focus on different physical and mental aspects of yoga, such as building strength, improving flexibility, reducing stress, etc.

 

12.

Molton Brown Seamoss Stress-Relieving Hydrosoak

$30

Is Mom in need of a deep-sea de-stress? Of course she is! She can dive into the blue waters of Molton Brown’s oceanic bath salts, made with marine extracts, Dead Sea salts and horse chestnut. The scent is energizing and the scrub clarifying.

 

13.

Original Magic Wand

$54.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, okay, we know. But seriously, this is an awesome stress-melting back massager. Really. Whatever else Mom might figure out to do with it in the privacy of her own bedroom is her business — you don’t need to know about it.

 

 

Your Call: Why Won’t He Get to Know Me?

May 11th, 2015

photo via Flickr

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. This woman asked her question in the comments section of the post How Often Do F-Buddies Become Girlfriends? Tell it to her straight in the comments section below. 

Dear Em & Lo,

So I started talking to this guy on a dating app. He seemed so interested at first. Conversations could have been a bit inappropriate looking back now, but at the time they were so exciting! We went out on our first date to a members only club. Which made me think “Ok, it’s good that he’s not hiding me.” We had three other dates but they were very spaced out and all three he would invite me over and cook for me. We spoke about our families, he’d talk to me about his friends like I knew them, we spoke about our ex’s for a minute or so, I learnt that he had got out of a one year relationship 3 months prior to us talking. We slept together on the fourth date. I really like him and we clicked so well when we were together, but then he wouldn’t talk to me until the next week when he’d want to see me.

One day he tried to make a joke out of wanting to sleep with me, I took it the wrong way and said I wasn’t only looking for someone to sleep with and if that was the case maybe I should take a step back. His response was “I hadn’t thought that far ahead!” What does that even mean?!

I tried to call him to explain what I meant, as I wasn’t looking to rush into something, I just wanted to go out and do different things. He picked up but said he was in the middle of something and would call me back… Of course he didn’t. I took the advice of a guy friend of mine and sent him a message the next evening to diffuse the situation. I said [things] got a bit lost in translation and there was no drama and I asked what his plans were for the evening. He responded the next day… Basically just saying that he was ill but was going to an event he had to attend that night but was just going to lay low. I took that as he was only going to invite me over if I was going to see him. I told him to enjoy his evening!

He texted a couple of days later saying that he was at work and was going to chill and watch a movie at home after work and said I was welcome to join. I told him I was not up for that but I didn’t mind going out for a drink! He said he would text me once he finished work. He texted me later than when he said he would to say that he was running late and let’s rearrange.

Of course I was annoyed but just said perhaps after I’m back from my trip. His response was “sure x.” Thing is he hasn’t asked about me or contacted me since. I don’t know how to deal with this guy, I don’t get why I’m not being given a chance, I’ve never been in a situation where a guy hasn’t wanted to get to know me. I think about him a lot but I don’t want it to just be about sex!

I’d love to hear your advice.

Loulou

What advice do you have for LouLou? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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What Every Mom Wants for Mother’s Day

May 8th, 2015

A room of one’s own…specifically, a hotel room…in which to masturbate. That’s the message of the funny music video by The Pump and Dump, called “Hotel Room“:

While watching the video, we realized the singer’s voice sounded familiar…and then it hit us: “Walk of Shame“! — another funny music video we highlighted on this site years ago by comedian Shayna Ferm (much lower production values, but hey, it was only 2008):

Back then, she was backed by “the Upper Deckers.” Now, two kids later (not unlike yours truly), she’s joined forces with “MC Doula” to create The Pump and Dump Show, “a raucous evening of comedy, inappropriate music, prizes, drinking, swearing and commiseration in Denver, Colorado…sure to make you laugh your c-section scar open” every month.

Sometimes they take their show on the road. We just want to know when they’re coming to the Hudson Valley!

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Understanding Islamic Feminism

May 7th, 2015

“Islamic feminist.” Sounds like an oxymoron, right? But this week’s episode of the PRI radio show “America Abroad,” produced and written by (our amazing friend) Mia Lobel, will get you thinking. This fascinating hourlong podcast called “Understanding Islamic Feminism” covers feminist reinterpreters of the Koran in Egypt, Morocco’s most progressive family law in the East (which makes it easier for women to divorce, inherit property, and gain custody of their children), the burka ban in France, the first all-female mosque in the United States, and — our favorite — a profile of the creator of “Shugs & Fats,” a sketch comedy web series featuring two veiled women exploring the cultural traditions and trends of the West (think juice cleanses, speed dating, and — yes! — even vibrators). While it may seem, at times, like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole (especially if you’re an atheist), this particular public radio show will give you great hope for the future of Islam — that it can and will become a religion which globally recognizes the human rights of women, thanks to feminist activists like those featured here:

 

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How Cheating May Actually Improve Your Relationship

May 7th, 2015

by Sarah Harrison for YourTango

We didn’t believe it at first either …

Unless you’re inclined toward polyamory, extramarital relations are generally frowned upon.

Marriages accept and expect monogamy; infidelity is harmful! Right?

Not so fast, says Michael J. Formica, a Psychology Today blogger. In a post on the “Enlightened Living” blog, Formica makes the case that thinking about cheating—and even stepping out on your sweetie—can potentially help your relationship.

First Formica identifies four basic types of affairs:

  1. An object affair: The cheating partner neglects the relationship to focus on something else—work, a video game, an intense involvement in floral arrangement—a detriment to his or her love life.
  2. A sexual affair: Exactly what they sound like: The adulterer rents cheap hotel rooms for sex—but not emotional intimacy. A sexual affair is strictly about nookie, nothing more.​
  3. An emotional affair: When there’s no smooching, but lots of sentiment. You’re spending hours on IM with someone who’s not your boyfriend, spilling your secrets to a woman who’s not your wife, turning to someone else instead of your partner in times of need. Clearly not good for your primary relationship.
  4. A secondary relationship affair: This is the traditional kind of cheating, where you have two parallel partnerships that are both sexual and emotional, and it’s this kind of liaison that Formica says can actually help a marriage.

First, he says, an affair can add fizz to a flat partnership. What was once stale gets refreshed by a new energy.

Second, if you’re having an affair you’re probably doing it because you’re missing something in your primary relationship. If you analyze the affair you might be able to see what it is that’s lacking and address that problem.

Finally, people tend to get into the same kind of relationship over and over again, but affairs are different—according to Formica they often are “a more authentic barometer for what we actually need in our relationships.”

Right about now you’re probably thinking this Formica guy is one messed up dude who’s just making excuses for cheating. But Formica qualifies his analysis:

The “good” that might come out of an affair is clearly not the affair itself or its potential painful consequences (for the betrayed, children involved, etc.). But, as I often say, everything is material for change. If we look at our choices and examine ourselves in an honest and forthright way, we just might find one of the keys to prompt our own personal growth and evolution.

That evolution might lead us back to a more authentic relationship with our primary relationship, or it might lead us to a more authentic understanding of ourselves that leads us away from that primary partner. Either way, that is still positive growth.

Readers, what do you think? Can infidelity ever lead to positive change? Or is the damage wrought by cheating too harmful to ever be good?

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